We should approach life much more with brain than with brawn

Sunday December 10 2017

Judith Muendi and Reuben Kivuva

Ms Judith Muendi (left) whose hands and a leg were chopped off by her lover Reuben Kivuva alias Cameroon (right). Kivuva has been jailed for life on December 6, 2017 after he was found guilty by a magistrate in Makindu. 

More by this Author

A kind organisation is what raises the human brain above the brains of all species, including the chimpanzee, humanity’s closest evolutionary cousin.

Yet the chimp evinces mental restraints that should put humans to the deepest moral shame and so temper down our specific conceit and intra-specific murderousness.

I refer to a newspaper report on Thursday that, in a domestic  Armageddon, a male Kenyan had cut off the upper limbs of his marital partner and left her writhing in intolerable permanent pain. I say permanent because, although the wound might cure physically, it leaves  a permanent wound in the victim’s psychological skin.

For the forelimbs that we call arms – especially the hands and fingers at the end of each of them – are among those features that essentially define our human-ness.

The point, then, is that, as a rule, a psychological wound of that kind will last much longer and attack the lady’s thought faculties much more intensely and with much greater pain than any other kind of wound can inflict.


In most cases, a mental wound of that depth will, indeed, prove incurable.  The point, then, is that, such a mental or moral wound is not confined to the male. It may be inflicted even by the female. That negativity is one area in which the male and the female are equals. There, what the male usually has above the female is only a bigger and more powerful physique.

The great alacrity with which the male resorts to his physique is the usual proof of it.

A male usually resorts to the fist or the big stick only when he can no longer provide any real answer to the plethora of usually reasonable questions with which his beleaguered wife faces him during such a domestic crisis.

But, in evolutionary terms, this, too, is for reasons that have to do with the male’s need to protect both the female and their joint offspring in an intensely hostile inter-specific survival environment, especially during the physical incapacitation that every human female must undergo during pregnancy, at birth-giving and during most stages of child nursing.


Humanity’s male conceit – especially in the under-developed world – is thus not necessarily a product of natural evolution.

It may have nothing to do with any individual’s sex organ. Usually, it is an outcome, a product, only of culture. Those who study history objectively know it because, for one thing only, in the early history of most human societies, the female was usually the boss in every family.

To be quite sure, there are areas of life in which certain animal species are superior to human beings.

We have only recently begun to compete with fish in certain water skills and with birds in certain atmospheric skills.

Indeed, the dolphin and certain birds are extremely intelligent. Yet no dolphin will ever build a ship and no bird will ever build an airplane.


The question, however, is:  Exactly what makes you think that you are bio-mentally superior to your female partner when, in practically every intense argument, the animal physical power that nature gave you for quite a different purpose – namely, to protect her and her offspring – is your resort against them?

If the fist is what makes you superior to your wife, then you must agree that the lion and the leopard are your superiors.

If physical power is what is at stake, then, of course, you must openly admit that the lion is your evolutionary superior because a “mere” lioness or leopardess will make much shorter work of you than you can make of any human female.

Among human beings, moreover, much more is at stake than mere physical power. The point is that we are supposed to be civilised and, by definition, civilisation demands that we approach life much more with brain than with brawn.